What makes a good pub? Not too large, not too small. Not too smart, not too scruffy. Mix of customers who are friendly enough to make the odd comment when you go to the bar and civil enough to let you get on with reading your book. Salt of the earth locals and passing trade, both equally comfortable. Pleasant and helpful staff, decent and uncomplicated food. A well-kept and obscure real ale or two but not as a tedious point of principle or raison d’etre. Plenty of decent regular booze too. A back-street location allowing the casual drinker to feel like they’ve run across an unknown gem. An unusual, central, octagonal, island bar. Nothing flash, nothing gimmicky.

The Britannia on Ironmonger Row, then. Very nice indeed. The dread hand of the sign which says ‘Live Music’ was in evidence but there was no trace of any such badness during my visit. Backstreet boozers really are the best, aren’t they?